New on DVD/Blu-ray: Red Riding Hood (2011)

Director Catherine Hardwicke couldn’t have possibly cast any more appropriately than getting Amanda Seyfried as little red riding hood in her “re-imagining” of the famous fairytale. To be sure, getting Gary Oldman was a pretty nifty move, too, but it’s Seyfried who is the real catch here, not least of which because those big ol eyes of hers just begs to be put into a fantasy themed film. Find out just how well she does as the object of a wolf’s twisted obsession in “Red Riding Hood”, traipsing onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, On Demand and for Download June 14, 2011 from Warner Home Video.

Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) directs a fantasy thriller that puts a haunting twist on the classic fairy tale. For years the villagers of Daggerhorn have maintained an uneasy truce with a werewolf – but the beast changes the stakes by killing the older sister of beautiful young Valerie (Amanda Seyfried). Promised in marriage to one man but in love with another, Valerie has her life dramatically affected yet again by the creature’s bloody actions. When a werewolf hunter warns that the beast takes human form by day and walks among them, panic sets in as the death toll rises. And Valerie learns she has a unique connection to the wolf that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect…and bait. Gary Oldman, Billie Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas and Julie Christie also star.

Movie Review:

“Red Riding Hood” is the kind of movie that exists in fairytales, set in a medieval village that doesn’t seem to conform to any known historical timeline. The heroine, one Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), is fetching in her brightly colored red cape/hood combo, and Seyfried certainly has the big ol eyes to give that memorable line from the fairytale, “Oh, what big eyes you have” more than one meaning. Heck, I could stare into Amanda Seyfried’s eyes all day. The rest of her ain’t so bad, either.

There is of course a big bad wolf on the prowl, claiming victims from Valerie’s village. A wolf is suspected, but a werewolf is eventually revealed to be the real culprit. Which means someone has to turn into that wolf, and the suspects are plenty. They include Henry (Max Irons), the nice enough guy Valerie has been unceremoniously betrothed to, as well as her childhood friend Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), who Valerie actually likes, probably because he has amazing Robert Pattinson hair despite, you know, living in a village in the woods and whatnot. (Valerie can’t decide between Henry and Peter. Maybe you can help her?) When the killings intensify, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) appears with his men to battle the beast, and in the process, inflicts his own brand of terror on the villagers. Oh, Gary Oldman, you do so chew scenery like no other, you scamp.

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who helmed the maiden voyage of the now-infamous “Twilight” franchise, “Red Riding Hood” certainly looks and feels like a “Twilight” movie spin-off, though the wolves here are a bit more menacing and bloody. The production designs are ethereal and surreal, and don’t look real in the least. But then again, isn’t that the point? This is the kind of story that can only exist outside of the real world, so in service of that, the film’s look is completely warranted and a job well done. Despite its period setting, “Red Riding Hood” feels purposefully anachronistic, and besides being the most sexually charged version of the fairytale ever put to celluloid outside of some porno parody, the actors never even attempts an accent, which is just as well. Also, I swear there were some dirty grinding action going on during the big village dance scene.

And did I mention how awesome Gary Oldman was in this movie? Who else can shout, “You will die now, beast!” which such gusto (not to mention such awkward inflections)?

Blu-ray Combo Pack Review:

The combo pack boasts an “alternate cut” of the movie (Blu-ray only), with the big selling point being an alternate ending. The new ending aside, if this version of the film is actually different from the theatrical version, I couldn’t really tell.

Other special features include a gag reel, music videos, and the featurette “Red Riding Hood: Red’s Men” that focuses on, well, the men in Red Riding Hood’s life. The big special feature is “Secrets Behind the Red Cloak”, a picture-in-picture commentary function with stars Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, and director Catherine Hardwicke sitting around to spitball on the making of the film.

Buy “Red Riding Hood” on DVD or Blu-ray June 14, 2011 from Warner Home Video.